Bangla Bantams and Shapla FC to celebrate one-year anniversary with awards ceremony
Shapla Football Club and the Bangla Bantams – a Bradford City supporters group – are set to celebrate their respective one-year anniversaries with an awards ceremony at the Royal Taj Banqueting Suite in Bradford on Wednesday 2 March.
The two projects were founded in February 2015 to help the local South Asian community promote and increase grassroots football engagement in the Bradford area. Both Shapla and the Bangla Bantams were set up with help from the Fans For Diversity campaign fund, which is jointly run by Kick It Out and the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF).
Humayun Islam, one of the co-founders of the two projects, explained the motivations behind the celebration.
“The awards event aims to bring together the partners and supporters of the two groups to showcase their achievements from the past year,” he said. “We also want to demonstrate that we could not have achieved all this without the support of organisations like Kick It Out and the FSF. It’s crucial that other organisations learn from our success so that we can help each other.”
Other supporters of Shapla and the Bangla Bantams include Bradford City FC, the West Riding County FA, The FA, Sporting Equals and other local organisations, many of whom will have representatives in attendance.
Since their formation, Shapla and the Bangla Bantams have successfully run several initiatives with the local South Asian community, such as arranging opportunities for fans to attend matches at the Bradford City’s Coral Windows Stadium and a fasting event during Ramadan.
The two groups have also organised a variety of grassroots playing initiatives for local boys and girls, including Shapla Sports, which has introduced scores of young people to tennis and cricket, as well as the establishment of a football academy that runs every Saturday, with a regular attendance of over 70 people.
Anwar Uddin, the FSF’s Diversity and Campaigns Manager, who has been heavily involved in both projects, praised what has been achieved so far: “It’s great to see the Bangla Bantams and Shapla progress and develop into something that the local community has completely embraced.
“We’ve now got people that regularly attend the games and are in tune with Bradford City Football Club,” he continued. “It’s also empowered the community to go out and feel comfortable playing or watching football, and that’s only been able to happen because of the successful partnerships that we were able to create.”